SeaWorld Orlando, Georgia Aquarium and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Return Rehabilitated Dolphin Attacked by Shark

Bottlenose dolphin found with life-threatening shark bite injuries gets a second chance at life

ORLANDO, Fla. (June 29, 2018) – Yesterday, members of the SeaWorld Orlando Rescue Team and the Georgia Aquarium Conservation Field Station, along with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) returned “Sharkie” to the ocean near St. Augustine, Fla. after an intense four month rehabilitation at SeaWorld Orlando. The 265 lb. sub-adult Atlantic bottlenose dolphin was rescued in February on Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. after FWC reached out for assistance due to the animal’s life-threatening injuries. Georgia Aquarium Conservation Field Station veterinarian, Dr. Rose Borkowski was on scene alongside FWC and conferred with NOAA Fisheries after assessing the animal and the decision was made to transport the animal to SeaWorld Orlando’s Cetacean Rehabilitation Facility.

The dolphin, which had sustained multiple shark bite wounds to her body and right pectoral flipper and was suffering from pneumonia, was successfully transported to SeaWorld Orlando where she has been receiving rehabilitation care for the past four months.

“Georgia Aquarium Conservation Field Station is proud to be a part of the initial rescue and release of this dolphin following its lengthy rehabilitation. Now, seeing it healthy enough to be released shows the dedication and hard work by all those involved,” said George Biedenbach, director of the Georgia Aquarium Conservation Field Station. “Our goal is to always assist animals in need as best we can, no matter the circumstances and we’re glad to see another animal thriving. Every animal counts and it’s through collaborative work like this that we can ensure the health and safety of so many ocean animals.”

“This is a very exciting day for us. To see this animal in the state she was in, bitten by sharks, emaciated, in trouble and with life threatening injuries, to as healthy as she is now to swim back out in the ocean, it’s just a wonderful day and that’s why we do this,” said Jon Peterson, Manager of SeaWorld Rescue Operations.

During her stay, SeaWorld veterinarians and the Animal Rescue Team provided 24-hour care to the dolphin, treating her with antibiotics, dewormers, anti-inflammatories, physical therapy and wound care. Prior to her release, the dolphin was fitted with a satellite tag which will enable stranding network partner organizations to continue to monitor her.

The dolphin passed a major milestone in her journey to return when she passed a hearing test in April administered by NOAA Fisheries with the help of SeaWorld. The testing showed the dolphin has full hearing through the entire frequency range necessary for echolocation. It is important for dolphins undergoing rehabilitation to pass a hearing test to ensure hearing loss was not a factor in their stranding. Hearing loss is detrimental to wild dolphins, as they rely on echolocation to hunt, navigate and avoid predators.

SeaWorld Orlando’s Animal Rescue Team is on call 24/7 to save and care for injured, orphaned or ill animals. In collaboration with NOAA Fisheries and other members of the Marine Mammal Stranding Network, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment operates one of the world’s most respected programs authorized to rescue ill and injured marine animals, with the goal to rehabilitate and return them to the ocean. SeaWorld animal experts have helped more than 31,000 animals in need – ill, injured, orphaned and abandoned – for more than five decades.

Footage of rescued dolphins produced by SeaWorld under the National Marine Fisheries Service Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program.

 

About Georgia Aquarium Conservation Field Station

Georgia Aquarium Conservation Field Station (GA-CFS) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization located in Marineland, Fla. GA-CFS is dedicated to research and stranding response of dolphins, small whales, and turtles in northeast Florida and focuses on research and conservation. The team at GA-CFS supports Georgia Aquarium research projects both in the field and on-location and provides unique expertise and experience. GA-CFS exists to increase public awareness and contribute to the scientific study of aquatic life and provides educational outreach to local communities and schools. For more information visit www.georgiaaquarium.org/conserve

 

About SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc.

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment™ is a leading theme park and entertainment company providing experiences that matter and inspiring guests to protect animals and the wild wonders of our world. The company is one of the world’s foremost zoological organizations and a global leader in animal welfare, behavioral training, husbandry and veterinary care. The company collectively cares for what it believes is one of the largest zoological collections in the world and has helped lead advances in the care of animals. The company also rescues and rehabilitates marine and terrestrial animals that are ill, injured, orphaned or abandoned, with the goal of returning them to the wild. The SeaWorld® rescue team has helped more than 31,000 animals in need over the last 50 years.

The company owns or licenses a portfolio of recognized brands including SeaWorld, Busch Gardens® and Sea Rescue®. Over its more than 50-year history, the company has built a diversified portfolio of 12 destination and regional theme parks that are grouped in key markets across the United States, many of which showcase its one-of-a-kind zoological collection. The company’s theme parks feature a diverse array of rides, shows and other attractions with broad demographic appeal which deliver memorable experiences and a strong value proposition for its guests.

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment is a wholly owned subsidiary of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc., a publicly traded company. Visit www.seaworldentertainment.com for more information.

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Dolphin Attacked by Shark Continues to Receive Care at SeaWorld

SeaWorld Dolphin shark attack 1

All photo from footage of rescued dolphins produced by SeaWorld under the National Marine Fisheries Service Marine Mammal Health and Response Program.

An Atlantic bottlenose dolphin that was attacked by a shark in late February off Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida and became stranded as a result of the injuries continues to receive treatment at SeaWorld Orlando.

The 265 lb. sub-adult dolphin was assessed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) who determined that a rescue and rehabilitation attempt was necessary due to the animal’s life-threatening injuries. Members of the SeaWorld Orlando Rescue Team and the Georgia Aquarium Conservation Field Station (based at Marineland) worked alongside to care for the badly injured dolphin. Conservation Field Station veterinarian, Dr. Rose Borkowski conferred with NOAA Fisheries Service about the animal’s condition after the assessment and the decision was made to transport the animal to SeaWorld Orlando for rehabilitation.

At time of the rescue, SeaWorld veterinarian Dr. Lara Croft described the dolphin as being in “critical condition,” based on the “extensiveness of this animal’s shark bite wounds” and how thin she was. The dolphin sustained multiple shark bite wounds to her body and right pectoral flipper.

20180406 SeaWorld Dolphin shark attack 2The dolphin was successfully transported to SeaWorld Orlando’s Cetacean Rehabilitation Facility for further evaluation and rehabilitation. After an initial veterinary exam and treatment, the dolphin was able to swim unsupported at the park’s rescue facility.

Through the course of her treatment, SeaWorld Orlando veterinarians discovered that in addition to shark bite wounds the dolphin was suffering from pneumonia. Over the last month, SeaWorld veterinarians and the Animal Rescue Team have been treating her with antibiotics, dewormers, anti-inflammatories, physical therapy, and wound care.

This week, veterinarians performed radiographs to confirm if the antibiotics and treatment are clearing up the pneumonia. They will continue to monitor and run additional tests to confirm.

Once her pneumonia clears, the next milestones for her rehabilitation will be for her to continue to gain weight and strength and pass a hearing test. All rescued cetaceans must pass a hearing test administered by NOAA Fisheries to ensure hearing loss was not a factor in their stranding. Hearing loss is detrimental to wild cetaceans as they rely on echolocation to hunt, navigate, and avoid predators.

The SeaWorld Animal Rescue Team and veterinarians will continue to provide 24-hour care and treatment, with the ultimate goal to rehabilitate and return her to the wild.

SeaWorld Orlando’s Animal Rescue Team is on call 24/7 to save and care for injured, orphaned or ill animals. In collaboration with NOAA Fisheries and other members of accredited stranding networks, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment operates one of the world’s most respected programs authorized to rescue ill and injured marine animals, with the goal to rehabilitate and return to the ocean. SeaWorld animal experts have helped more than 31,000 animals in need – ill, injured, orphaned and abandoned – for more than five decades.

Footage of rescued dolphins produced by SeaWorld under the National Marine Fisheries Service Marine Mammal Health and Response Program.

About Georgia Aquarium Conservation Field Station

Georgia Aquarium Conservation Field Station (GA-CFS) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit  organization located in Marineland, Fla. GA-CFS is dedicated to research and stranding response of dolphins, small whales, and turtles in northeast Florida and focuses on research and conservation. The team at GA-CFS supports Georgia Aquarium research projects both in the field and on-location and provides unique expertise and experience. GA-CFS exists to increase public awareness and contribute to the scientific study of aquatic life and provides educational outreach to local communities and schools. For more information visit www.georgiaaquarium.org/conserve

About SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc.

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment™ is a leading theme park and entertainment company providing experiences that matter and inspiring guests to protect animals and the wild wonders of our world. The company is one of the world’s foremost zoological organizations and a global leader in animal welfare, behavioral training, husbandry and veterinary care. The company collectively cares for what it believes is one of the largest zoological collections in the world and has helped lead advances in the care of animals. The company also rescues and rehabilitates marine and terrestrial animals that are ill, injured, orphaned or abandoned, with the goal of returning them to the wild. The SeaWorld® rescue team has helped more than 31,000 animals in need over the last 50 years.

 

SeaWorld And Jacksonville Zoo Return Two Rehabilitated Manatees

ORLANDO, Fla. (January 10, 2018) – This morning SeaWorld Orlando and the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens returned two rehabilitated manatees. A warm water source near the St. John Boat Ramp provided the perfect location for this important manatee return.

The goal with every rescue is to rehabilitate and return the animal as quickly as possible. This remains the case even during winter months. Throughout the year, The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) closely monitors environmental factors of Florida waterways including water temperatures, which allows for rehabilitated manatees to be returned year-round. Returning manatees to a warm water source also allows the rescued manatees to familiarize themselves with the warm water site so they can return to it again the next time temperatures cool down.

Rehabilitated Manatees Returned:
Harper Lee- This sub-adult female manatee was rescued on November 9, 2017 from Sikes Creek in Merritt Island Florida due to an entanglement. During her rehabilitation she received routine wound treatment as well as antibiotics for infection caused by the entanglement.

Carolina- The sub-adult female manatee was Jacksonville Zoo’s first critical care patient at their new facility. She was rescued in Charleston, South Carolina as part of a larger operation to relocate wayward manatees that found themselves trapped in the Cooper River when water temperatures quickly dropped last November. Carolina was exhibiting mild cold stress and it was determined by SeaWorld and Jacksonville veterinarians onsite that she would require rehabilitation. Over her six week rehabilitation she was able to heal from her cold stress injuries and regain her strength.

In addition to returning two rehabilitated manatees, SeaWorld Orlando transferred a young rescued manatee to the Jacksonville Zoo. As part of the Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP) facilities are able to work together shifting rehab animals between facilities to ensure future rescues are not turned away. With the Jacksonville Zoo taking this young rescue for continued rehabilitation, SeaWorld Orlando now has more space for future critical rescues.

Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership

As part of the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP), SeaWorld Orlando is an acute care rehabilitation facility that provides life-saving medical care to rescued manatees.

The MRP is a cooperative group of non-profit, private, state, and federal entities who work together to monitor the health and survival of rehabilitated and released manatees. Information about manatees currently being tracked is available at http://www.manateerescue.org. The Florida manatee was recently reclassified from endangered to threatened, but is still at risk from both natural and human causes of injury and mortality. Exposure to red tide, cold stress and disease are all natural problems that can affect manatees. Human-caused threats include boat strikes, crushing by floodgates or locks, and entanglement in or ingestion of fishing gear.

All manatee rescue footage is produced by SeaWorld under the FWS Permit Number MA770191.

If you see an injured marine animal, you can help by calling the FWC hotline at 1-888-404-3922 or by dialing *FWC on a cellular device.

About SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc.

SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: SEAS) is a leading theme park and entertainment company providing experiences that matter and inspiring guests to protect animals and the wild wonders of our world.

SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. is one of the world’s foremost zoological organizations and a global leader in animal welfare, training, husbandry and veterinary care. The company collectively cares for what it believes is one of the largest zoological collections in the world and has helped lead advances in the care of animals. The company also rescues and rehabilitates marine and terrestrial animals that are ill, injured, orphaned or abandoned, with the goal of returning them to the wild. The SeaWorld rescue team has helped more than 27,000 animals in need over the last 50 years.

The company owns or licenses a portfolio of globally recognized brands including SeaWorld®, Shamu® and Busch Gardens®. Over its more than 50-year history, the company has built a diversified portfolio of 11 destination and regional theme parks that are grouped in key markets across the United States, many of which showcase its one-of-a-kind zoological collection of over 800 species of animals. The company’s theme parks feature a diverse array of rides, shows and other attractions with broad demographic appeal which deliver memorable experiences and a strong value proposition for its guests.

About Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

For over 100 years, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens has aimed to inspire the discovery and appreciation of wildlife through innovative experiences in a caring environment. Starting in 1914 with an animal collection of one red deer fawn, the Zoo now has more than 2,000 rare and exotic animals and 1,000 species of plants, boasting the largest botanical garden in Northeast Florida. The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is a nonprofit organization and a portion of every ticket sold goes to the over 45 conservation initiatives Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens supports around the world, and here in NE Florida. JZG is proud to be an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. For more information, visit jacksonvillezoo.org.

Summer Camp Expo

summer-camp-guide-and-adventure-expo-save_the_dateMore than 40 companies representing unique classes, outdoor adventure programs, sports leagues, and family-friendly destinations and attractions throughout Central Florida will showcase unique summer camp and adventure program opportunities for your family.

This free expo will feature exhibitors from more than 40 companies representing unique classes, outdoor adventure programs, sports leagues, special needs providers and family-friendly destinations and attractions throughout Central Florida. During the expo, attendees will:

  • Receive exclusive camp discounts and travel deals
  • Learn about unique destinations and experiences for all ages
  • Interact one-on-one with camp counselors and destination representatives
  • Enjoy live entertainment and kids’ activities
  • Have fun while creating summer plans for your family

“We are excited to offer families the opportunity to explore unique destinations and experiences for children age three to 18, all under one roof,” says Sarah Bain, Orlando Sentinel Media Group events manager. “Expo guests will also find exclusive discounts, giveaways and travel deals while they enjoy live entertainment and kid-friendly activities. It’s truly the fastest and easiest way to choose the best summer options for your family.”

seaworld-camp

SeaWorld Summer Camp 2016. That’s my smiling camper!

While looking over the list of camp options available, I saw some favorites (like SeaWorld that my son LOVED last year), and some that I didn’t know about. Who knew you could send your kid to the University of Doglando?! There he or she can learn about animal care and training, while handling adoptable dogs.

Doglando has friendly, furry friends.

Doglando has friendly, furry friends.

While we’re partial to experiences involving animals, there are sports activities, theater, science, music and so much more. Special Needs families will find camps that their kids will enjoy, too. There’s never been an easier way to compare summer camps in the Orlando area.

Come on out Saturday, March 4, 2017 from 10am – 4pm at Seminole Towne Center Mall, 200 Towne Center Cir, Sanford, FL. It’s located right off of I-4 Exit 101C.

Insider tip: Get there early! The first 50 families* will receive two tickets
to Medieval Times! Read full details on the Orlando Sentinel website.

Check out the full list of camps and read more at http://www.orlandosentinel.com/summercampexpo.

*After 10 am ET on 3/4/17 at the Orlando Sentinel Information Booth at the Summer Camp & Adventure Expo at Seminole Towne Center Mall. Full details here.

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Ride MAKO for Give Kids The World Village

mako for gktwThrill-ride fans itching to board SeaWorld Orlando’s spectacular new Mako roller coaster can skip the lines and be among the first to experience the most anticipated attraction in Central Florida this year, by participating in a special seat auction to benefit Give Kids The World Village.

SeaWorld Orlando and Give Kids The World Village (GKTW) are holding a seat auction that will allow winners to be among the first to ride the Mako coaster on June 8, before the Grand Opening celebration on June 10. It’s a chance to experience the “tallest, fastest and longest coaster in Orlando” and to be part of “hypercoaster” history!

Auction proceeds will help GKTW fulfill the dreams of children with life-threatening illnesses whose wish is to visit Orlando’s world-famous theme parks and other attractions.

The seat auction will be available on this link from now until June 3. Riders may pick their preferred seat during the bidding process depending on their desired thrill level: a middle seat in the middle car, or a side-seat in the back.

w Brian Morrow

Brian and I did not take a test ride, but he will take YOU! Please give generously to Give Kids The World Village.

There’s even an exclusive, one-of- a-kind experience – offered at a minimum bid of $2,000 – that will award the winner two seats in the front row, riding with Brian Morrow, Vice President of Theme Park Experience for SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment and Give Kids The World Village President and CEO Pamela Landwirth. In addition, the premium package winner will be awarded a two-night’s stay at a hotel near the theme park and lunch with Morrow, among other perks.

Mako you could be hereThere are 80 additional seats available for auction, offered at a minimum bid of $250 or $500 depending on the train and seat(s) chosen. Winners will receive their selected seat(s), a Mako T-shirt, free parking and admission to SeaWorld Orlando for the remainder of the day.

About Give Kids The World Village
Give Kids The World Village is a 79-acre, nonprofit “storybook” resort, located near Central Florida’s most beloved attractions, where children with life-threatening illnesses and their families are treated to weeklong, cost-free vacations.

Celebrating its 30 th anniversary in 2016, GKTW has welcomed more than 144,000 families from all 50 states and 70 countries. Working with more than 240 wish granting organizations, this one-of- a-kind resort is the destination for a child’s wish to visit Florida’s world famous theme parks.

The “storybook” Village has 144 whimsical accommodations and is made for children, featuring a castle, accessible playgrounds, pools and rides, as well as all theme park tickets, meals and entertainment free to all members of the family.

About SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc.
SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: SEAS) is a leading theme park and entertainment company providing experiences that matter and inspiring guests to protect animals and the wild wonders of our world.

SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. is one of the world’s foremost zoological organizations and a global leader in animal welfare, training, husbandry and veterinary care. The company collectively cares for what it believes is one of the largest zoological collections in the world and has helped lead advances in the care of animals. The company also rescues and rehabilitates marine and terrestrial animals that are ill, injured, orphaned or abandoned, with the goal of returning them to the wild. The SeaWorld rescue team
has helped more than 27,000 animals in need over the last 50 years.

The company owns or licenses a portfolio of globally recognized brands including SeaWorld® , Shamu® and Busch Gardens®. Over its more than 50-year history, the company has built a diversified portfolio of 11 destination and regional theme parks that are grouped in key markets across the United States, many of which showcase its one-of- a-kind zoological collection of over 800 species of animals. The company’s theme parks feature a diverse array of rides, shows and other attractions with broad demographic appeal which deliver memorable experiences and a strong value proposition for its guests.

Viva La Musica at SeaWorld

red dancer w dominoesOn Saturday, May 7, musician, composer, singer and trombonist, Willie Colón will perform some of his all-time hits at SeaWorld, Orlando. Then on Saturday, May 14, Latin music legend Wisin will hit the stage and perform some of his record-breaking hits such as “Adrenalina” and “Que Viva la Vida.”

If you’ve not been to Viva La Musica, SeaWorld’s festival of Latin food, music and culture, you’ve been missing out! In addition to the hot Latin sounds, there’s the food. Chef Hector Colon and his staff have outdone themselves this year with new flavors including:blue dancers

o   Piononos – Sweet plantain stuffed with traditional seasoned ground beef

o   Morcilla – Traditional Latin American blood sausage

o   Sorullitos – Caribbean-style fried polenta sticks

chef Gonzales

Chef Colon serves up Tripletas at SeaWorld Orlando’s Viva la Musica

o   Frituras de camarones – Skewered shrimp fritters with fried plantains

o   Lechón asado – Traditional roasted pork rubbed with Caribbean spices

I especially loved the Piononos. The contrast of sweet plaintains with the beef was exciting and delicious. I wasn’t expecting the flavors to meld so well, but then again I don’t make many Latin dishes. (Methinks I need to try now!)

Favorites from years past include piraguas (shaved ice with tropical flavors), bacalaítos (fried salted codfish pancakes), pinchos (skewered grilled meat with fried plantains) and tripletas, a hearty sandwich made with roast pork, chicken, steak and cheese topped with potato sticks and a special sauce. Tripletas are new to me, too. And delish! I think SeaWorld should have a Latin restaurant in the park to serve up some of these creations

IMG_4244

Three meats for the Tripletas.

year-round. I hate having to eat it ALL in one month-long setting, LOL.

You’ll also find Chef’s signature creations around the park. New this year at Mango Joe’s is the Hamburguesa Cubana, a hamburger made with a chorizo, ground beef and pork patty. Plus, guests who visit Seafire Grill, Cypress Bakery and Mango Joe’s will find an array of Latin infused limited-time dishes.

The absolute best item (if you ask me) is the skirt steak with chimichuri sauce (called Churrasco on the menu). Chef Hector Colon let me in on his secret recipe (sort of). Where traditional chimichuri has parsley, the Latin version he’s created substitutes half of the parsley with cilantro. He adds a touch of jalapeno, oregano, red pepper, salt and lots of garlic to the olive oil and apple cider vinegar base. I’ll be creating a copy cat version of this in the near. Stay tuned!

chimichurriWhere can you get this deliciousness? Check your Viva La Musica event guide and look for “Churrasco,” found under section F – Cocia Criolla. This is the long kiosk in the middle of the pathway that serves the full meals. You won’t be disappointed!

Viva la Música activities begin at 12 p.m. each Saturday at the Bayside pathway, with concerts starting at 3 p.m. at Bayside Stadium.

chef Gonzales and Kelly selfie

Freezin’ For A Reason 2016

Polar Plunge Freezin' For A Reason at Aquatica by SeaWorld Orlando for Special Olympics FloridaSaturday February 13, the Special Olympics Florida’s Polar Plunge® will be held atSpecial Olympics Florida Aquatica. During this statewide fundraiser, individuals and teams, alongside Special Olympics athletes raise money for the privilege of Plunging into the chilled down wave pool.

Aquatica is usually warm and tropical (as we all know!), but once each year they chill down the wave pool so plungers can experience the “thrill of the chill” all while supporting a great cause.

I remember my first Polar Plunge. It was exciting to be part of such a huge joint adventure, with people from all over in crazy costumes, all “fired up” to get really “chilled down!” Each time it’s a heck of a lot of fun, but more importantly it’s an opportunity to make a difference. Every dollar raised helps the athletes of Special Olympics Florida by transforming their lives through the joy of sports.

Polar Plunge Freezin' For A Reason at Aquatica by SeaWorld Orlando for Special Olympics Florida

It’s loads of fun watching the firemen! The Florida Professional Firefighters are Presenting sponsors.

If you haven’t signed up for the Plunge, and would like to, click this link or if you’d like to leave the “freezing” to me, please support here. (Team members wanted! Join me here.)

There is no cost for plunging but Plungers are asked to fundraise a minimum of $100. Plungers create their own personal Plunge webpage so friends, family and co-workers can donate online. It’s quick, easy and secure.

Spectators are welcome to join in, cheer on, and join the party. Only the wave pool will be chilled down, the rest of the rides are heated. Come for the Plunge, then enjoy Aquatica all day!

If you don’t want to Plunge, but still participate, you can become a Virtual Plunger.  Raise pledges and receive incentives just like a regular Plunger, but without going into the chilly water.

Plungers who raise the minimum of $100 in donations, automatically get entry into Aquatica, the official Polar Plunge® T-shirt, two spectator passes and bragging rights over everyone who just couldn’t bear it!

Please join me in supporting Special Olympics Florida.

 

One Weekend Left for Wild Days At SeaWorld

Wild Days, presented by Coca-Cola rounds out this weekend, February 7 – 8, with animal expert Jungle Jack Hanna at SeaWorld, Orlando.

Wild Days jackhanna_780x438_01-07-2015Jack Hannah made his 95th appearance on Letterman last night with a groundhog, bush baby, a black leopard, cobra, caracal and a Harris’s hawk. While it’s always fun to watch him interact with the animals (and David Letterman!) on TV, how amazing is it to say you got to watch him in person?!

SeaWorld park guests get the opportunity to see Jack Hanna from the Columbus Zoo on the Wild Days stage in the Nautilus Stage. He’ll share stories from his travels around the world, and introduce guests to some of his favorite animal friends. Wild Days is included with park admission. Shows are at 11:00am and 3:00 pm.

For those wanting a more intimate up-close encounter, there are a few add on experiences available as well.

  • Breakfast with Jack Hanna (available Saturday and Sunday) at Dine with Shamu®. Package includes breakfast at Dine With Shamu, meet-and-greet with Jack Hanna, a complimentary family photo and special reserved seats during the 11 a.m. show.
  • Dinner with Jack Hanna (only available Saturday) at Dine with Shamu®. Package includes dinner at Dine With Shamu, meet-and-greet with Jack Hanna, a complimentary family photo and special reserved seats during the 3 p.m. show.

This is the third and final weekend of Wild Days. Animal Ambassador Julie Scardina kicked off the event with a Penguin Party, and last week Bindi Irwin, 16-year-old daughter of Terri Irwin and the late Steve Irwin (The Crocodile Hunter) thrilled “Generation Nature” with her passion for education and conservation.

Bindi at Wild Days

Insider tip: Buy your annual pass now! The incredible BOGO deal ends February 8, 2015. Special this weekend from Coca-Cola: Buy one souvenir drink cup ($11.99) and receive one for 50% off with free refills of Coca-Cola products on the day of purchase. 

All weekend, don’t miss the fun at SEA Garden Block Party featuring a high-energy DJ, whimsical Storyteller, animal encounters, and special character appearances. There are also chances to earn limited edition Wild Days trading cards around the park, plus opportunities for kids to play games that teach how they can help the environment.

You can also hear from SeaWorld trainers who will be on hand to introduce you to some of your favorite SeaWorld animal friends. Discover what goes into training, feeding and loving these animals every single day, plus ask questions of your own! See the in-park flyer for times and locations.

We love going to Wild Days. It’s a great opportunity to see world-renowned animal experts and hear how they’re making a difference every day. It’s great, too, to learn new ways we can be a part. If you’d like to be inspired to action (and have tons of fun doing it), visit SeaWorld during Wild Days, or any day.

Conservation begins with Inspiration. Be inspired. Go DO.

 

Photo Key at SeaWorld and Aquatica

PhotokeyThis weekend we’re doing a “two-for.” SeaWorld Spooktacular today, and Aquatica on Sunday. What with the gorgeous Orlando weather and all, indications point to a perfect weekend! One thing though: I’m usually taking pictures. Lots of ’em. I take them to chronicle wonderful memories with my friends and family. I take them to share on social media. I take them so relatives out of state can vicariously enjoy our visits. But… I take them. I’m not in a lot, because I’m behind the camera. Enter “The Photo Key.”

On my last visit I bought the new Photo Key, which replaces the Photo Pass of old (which I really enjoyed and doubted could be topped…) For a $99.99 you can buy an Annual PhotoKey pass for BOTH SeaWorld and Aquatica! (Single day passes are $59.99.) For a year from purchase, you get unlimited access to all of your digital photos (you can print them out anywhere from a drug store kiosk, at home, or use them on social media to your heart’s content).

Photos are taken by the staff photographers at key locations throughout the parks, including most roller coasters, Shark Encounter, Sky Tower, and more. I’m especially thrilled to have the Aquatica option, since it’s a bit tricky to take your own photo in the water, LOL. (And who wants to lug around a camera all day in your bathing suit?!)

Today I plan on stopping by many a photo photographer. My husband and I are dressed as Longshoremen, and our son is a police officer. Good times. And now, good times remembered digitally.

Here’s some more info from SeaWorld:

PhotoKey is available for purchase at several stations inside the park or you can purchase PhotoKey prior to arriving at the park at seaworldorlando.com. Take advantage of PhotoKey opportunities during your next family vacation and unlock a world of memories.

PhotoKey benefits:

  • Unlimited Access – All photos can be viewed, shared and downloaded at any park PhotoKey location, on the PhotoKey mobile app or on the PhotoKey website.
  • Save on Purchases – Receive discounts on in-park photo products that are available at any photo location.
  • Professional Photographers – Take advantage of professional photographers roaming the park to capture your family memories.
  • Keepsakes – Photos can be customized into various keepsakes through exclusive access to the PhotoKey website  Receive a free $10 online credit toward any customized PhotoKey product and unlimited $5 individual prints while PhotoKey pass is valid.

 

Spooktacular at SeaWorld… A Boo-tiful Thing

Last weekend we enjoyed the fall family fun that is SeaWorld Spooktacular! From trick-or-treating along the shore, to Halloween themed shows and entertainment, Spooktacular is a Boo-tiful thing to our family (and it’s included with park admission!). Spooktacular takes place weekends throughout the entire month of October, from 12 – 8 p.m.

Spooktacular Collage 2014The Sesame Street Countdown to Halloween show at the Seaport Theater, is a family fave. Human host Jamie interacts with the cutest monsters around for a not-scary-at-all musical good time. I especially love The Count (ahh ahh ahh!) and Transylvania 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5. It’s a play on the Big Band classic Pennsylvania 6-500. Kids of all ages will be singing along with Elmo, Telly Monster, Abby Cadabby and all their Sesame Street friends.

New this year is the Dine With Shamu Halloween Spooktacular Brunch (added item, not included in admission). Enjoy a delicious menu of seasonal items while sitting at a reserved table that brings you up close to majestic killer whales and Halloween surprises — a family photo with a Halloween Spooktacular frame, a free cookie decorating kit and a trick-or-treat bag with goodies. Pass members, buy your tickets through the pass member portal for discount admission.

PumpkinGuts2014Every year we enjoy The Longshoremen doing their “Pumpkin Guts” routine. Set just outside the SeaFire Inn restaurant, the performance staring an amazing and talented comedic trio will have you busting a gut (pun intended) as they try to scoop out the pumpkin guts to carve them. Spoiler Alert: They don’t have much success at anything but making a MESS!

Down at Penelope’s Party Zone, kids can get creative at the Jo-Ann CraftZone or dance to the live DJ’s family-friendly tunes. Though my son HAS the Turtle Trek app at home, he enjoyed playing on the huge screen, while his little friend made a picture at the coloring desks. Walking down and up from the party zone, big AND little kids couldn’t help but stop and push the buttons that make water dance out in the bay. Every detail has been thought of, and guests will be amazed at how much they’re immersed into the sea-themed magic all around.

Make sure to have your child’s photo taken with the myriad under-water creatures who grace Spooktacular while you trick-or-treat or partake in the games and goodies available for purchase along the bay. Because there is such a wide variety of creatures, there are usually not very long lines. Insider tip: Parents can trick-or-treat, too! (We’re kind of partial to the Junior Mints and Lemonheads!)

Whether you’re there for the treats or entertainment, you’ll have a boo-tiful experience at SeaWorld Spooktacular. See you there this weekend! And the next. And EVERY weekend in October!

Ticket deal: For a limited time, parents can get 50% off an Annual Pass for kids 9 and under with the purchase of a full-paid Annual Pass.  For more details and to purchase, visit SeaWorldOrlando.com.